We’re going to talk about something taboo, so buckle up. That’s right, ladies, we’re talking about periods and reusable feminine hygiene products.
I, like many of my female friends, grew up using conventional pads and tampons when I went through my first menstrual cycle more than a decade ago. It wasn’t until I started working for Frontier Co-op where the world of natural opened up new doors for me. I had heard of reusable dryer sheets, napkins, and even breast pads, but reusable pads and silicon menstrual cups were a new and intimidating concept. These green alternatives provide a safer, less wasteful, and ultimately more budget-friendly alternative to conventional marketed tampons, pads, and panty-liners that had been part of my monthly ritual since puberty.
Like me, your first reaction is probably, “that’s so gross!” As a society, we’re conditioned from the time we understand menstruation to associate this natural, healthy, vitally important process as disgusting, shameful, and inconvenient. Disposable feminine products continue promoting that mindset by allowing women to quickly, thoughtlessly flush or toss out any evidence of their monthly cycles.
These green alternatives provide a safer, less wasteful, and ultimately more budget-friendly alternative to conventional marketed tampons, pads, and panty-liners that had been part of my monthly ritual since puberty.
Just for a minute, pretend that menstruation isn’t gross and that it is acceptable to use reusable pads and menstrual cups. Think about the benefits! When I welcomed Aunt Flow back after 20 glorious months without (thanks pregnancy and breastfeeding!), I knew I needed a safer option for my lady bits. I’ve discovered lots of positives about using reusable feminine hygiene products, and today I’m going to share them with you!
3 Benefits of Using Reusable Feminine Hygiene Products
These chemical-free, non-toxic products are easy-to-use and simple to clean:
For the reusable menstrual pads: rinse in cold water and toss in the wash
For the menstrual cup: wash with soap and water after each use
They’re also more comfortable than any disposable product I’ve ever used. For the cup, you can wear it for 12 (that’s right TWELVE) hours. Simply insert and go on with your day. No leaks, no running to a bathroom to change out every two hours and no uncomfortable or itchy sensation. Simply empty out the cup in a toilet, rinse and wash, and repeat.
For the cloth pads, you’ll want to change it as often as you would change a disposable pad. Like a disposable pad, if a cloth pad becomes fully saturated, it may leak. You can place used pads a laundry basket or soaking container or a carry bag if you’re out and about. Not sure which size to get? Take the Glad Rags Survey to receive recommendations tailored to your specific needs.
These reusable products don’t produce the waste that disposables do. According to Glad Rags’ website, an average woman uses 12,000 to 16,000 disposable feminine products in her life. That’s a crazy amount of waste for products that are thrown away, not to mention the resources used to produce it, package it and transport it.
If that doesn’t make you get over the “gross” factor, I hope the economics and health aspects will. The cost of investing in reusables will vary based on cycle length, preferences and other factors, but for most women, it will end up costing less than buying disposables each month. Reusable pads can be used until they wear out and menstrual cups need to be replaced yearly. I’ve been using my Luna Cup for 9 months — so far, so good! There are also two sizes of menstrual cups: A (before kids) and B (after kids), so be sure you select the appropriate size.
There’s health to also take into account. Remember the warnings of toxic shock syndrome? It’s an extremely rare yet potentially fatal bacterial infection that is connected to the use of high-absorbency tampons. Additionally, medical-grade silicone menstrual cups, cotton pads, and cotton panty-liners are free from the fragrances, chlorine, dyes, adhesives, chemical gels, and other substances that are the foundation of most disposables. This is one of the most sensitive areas of the body, ladies! Be thoughtful about what you’re using!
It’s not easy to change your feminine care habits, but I promise you it’s worth it. Even if you use them part time, you’ll be making a difference for the planet and for yourself.
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